PROVIDENCE â St. Raphaelâs record now stands at a glistening 19-0, but for only the third time this season, the Saints found themselves battling for a victory in the final minute of play.
But the Saints, thanks to some strong defense down the stretch, were able to withstand a fierce challenge by ninth-seeded West Warwick and squeak out a 36-33 triumph on Sunday night at Rhode Island College that advanced them to Wednesday nightâs Division II semifinals.
For full story, see Monday's print edition of The Times.
WARWICK â Lincoln controlled the tempo for most of the night and held a significant advantage in the shots-on-goal department in its opening game of its best-of-three Division II semifinal-round series against Cumberland.
Unfortunately for the defending champions, they didnât control the first few minutes of the game. The Clippers did, and what they did in the first 2:21 of play helped them eke out their third one-goal victory of the season over their neighboring rivals.
For full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Times.
NEW YORK â Just in case Ed Cooley let it slip from his mind that the Providence Friars and Madison Square have gone together like oil and vinegar for the longest time, he received a reminder from the collegeâs president, the Rev. Brian J. Shanley.
âFrom what (Shanley) told me, we havenât won down here often,â stated Cooley. âSo for us to get off the schneid, itâs a great accomplishment for our program.â
NEW YORK â At this point of the season, Kadeem Batts and the rest of his teammates are dealing with information overload when the discussion turns to the Friars and their NCAA Tournament prospects.
Like every other Providence College basketball follower, Batts is keeping abreast of the latest developments via watching games on TV, checking out bracket-bubble updates online and hearing all sorts of prognostications on where the Friars stand in their quest for the programâs first NCAA berth since 2004.
PAWTUCKET – If there’s anyone associated with the Tolman boys’ basketball program who has seen firsthand the progress and development made by Jesse Fernandes, Steven Otis and the rest of the current underclassmen, look no further than head coach Mike Kayata’s right-hand man.
PAWTUCKET â Mike Kayata professes to know the mere basics regarding Coventry High, the squad Tolman High drew in the opening round of the 16-team Rhode Island State Open Boys' Basketball Tournament.
Based exclusively on the Power Point standings that were kept during the regular season and the divisional playoffs, the Division II Tigers are the No. 11 seed while the Division I Knotty Oakers are seeded sixth. Theyâll meet Wednesday night at Rhode Island Collegeâs Murray Center, with the tip at 6.
PAWTUCKET --- You would think that a team that captured its league title with a 16-0 record and won 13 of those games by 19 or more points would be an overwhelming favorite to win a state championship.
Instead, St. Raphael is merely one of the schools in a âteams to beatâ group that has its eyes set on achieving Division II glory a week from Saturday at URIâs Ryan Center.
PAWTUCKET â Six years ago, as a freshman at Tolman High, Ethan Etheridge decided to join the swim team more or less for the fun of it.
He admitted to being a decent swimmer, but nothing premier.
Slowly but surely, his times in his specialties â the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke â began to drop, and that naturally caused him to strive for more speed.
Etheridge claims he never would've dreamed way back when that he'd be in the position he is now, as one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of Elms College, stationed in Chicopee in western Massachusetts.
PROVIDENCE â The trust factor between the Providence College basketball players and the training staff is quite evident.
In separate interviews, Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton didnât refer to athletic trainer Bryn VanPatten by his first name or his last. Truncated in such a fashion that you can just feel the cool factor, VanPatten simply goes by âVP.â
PAWTUCKET â Tolman High head coach Mike Kayata is fully aware that in hoops parlance, Barrington is considered a matchup nightmare.
For Mount St. Charles and Burrillville, only two victories separate them from a return trip to Brown Universityâs Meehan Auditorium and a chance to claim championship glory.
For Cumberland, Lincoln, North Smithfield, and the St. Raphael/Providence Country Day/Wheeler co-op team, itâs going to take twice as many wins for a cherished spot in the Division II finals.
For these six teams, the march to Brown begins tonight as the puck drops on the state playoffs in the form of best-of-three series around the state.
COVENTRY â Thereâs still business to tend to, namely Fridayâs Division II semifinal clash against Barrington. Yet without running the risk of looking too far ahead, what Tolman High accomplished Wednesday night may have been the finishing touch to securing a spot in the 16-team open state tournament.
Sports editor emeritus
PAWTUCKET â Moses Brown came looking to spoil St. Raphael Academyâs bid for a perfect 16-0 regular season on Tuesday night at Alumni Hall.
The Saints had defeated the Quakers by 21 points in mid-January. That was a rare off night for the visitors, who carried an 11-3 record in Division II action into this playoff tuneup for both sides.
The next wave of games as part of Rhode Islandâs version of âMarch Madnessâ are set for Wednesday night with boysâ basketball quarterfinal-round contests in all three divisions taking place at neutral sites around the state.
Two area squads are heading to the same venue as Division II participants Tolman and Central Falls will bus to Coventry High School. The third-seeded Tigers will take the floor first for a 5:30 p.m. matchup against fellow II-Central member and sixth-seeded Exeter/West Greenwich. At roughly 7:30, the seventh-seeded Warriors face No. 2 Barrington.
LINCOLN â After the warm-up session, and minutes before a huge Division III-North clash against league-leading North Smithfield High, Davies Tech head coach Joe Handy led his troops outside a door to Gaskin Alumni Hall on Tuesday evening.
There, he looked rather animated, trying to explain to his Patriots how critical it would be to play with fire in their hearts. After all, a postseason berth was at stake.
PROVIDENCE â Call it the definition of a Friar full circle.
The Providence College menâs basketball contest that took place March 2, 2004 isnât referenced in the sections of the media guide devoted to noteworthy dates and games in program history, and with good reason: On that night, nothing went right. Pittsburgh waltzed into the Dunkinâ Donuts Center and laid a major hurt on the Ryan Gomes-led and Tim Welsh-coached Friars, rolling to a stunningly easy 88-61 victory.
âI remember,â said PC Athletic Director Bob Driscoll when reached Monday.
LINCOLN --- The official announcement came during the second week of January, but Dick Ryan didnât realize that he received one of high schoolâs most prestigious coaching honors until late last week during his first visit of the year to Lincoln High.
âWe had our spring coaches meeting,â recalled the Lionsâ softball coach. âI stopped into (athletic director Brian Finebergâs) office and he told me, âHey, congratulations.â I said, âFor what?â and he said, âYou didnât get this?â and he showed me a copy of a letter that was in my mailbox at the school.â